Monday, October 31, 2011

Blood And Bone - A Virtual Book Tour

Today is the first day of a virtual book tour for the book - Blood and Bone.  Author, Dawn Brown is not only presenting her latest novel but providing a give away of a $20 Amazon gift card to one lucky reader who leaves a comment over the course of the tour.

Blood and Bone - comes with a product warning.  I'm not sure if that means one is supposed to bring out a scotch warmed with the flavours of peat and all things Scottish before reading or...  But I digress, only because Dawn has been kind enough to tell us about Scotland.

So without further ado - here is Dawn Brown on the first day of her virtual tour with her recently released book, Blood and Bone

Dawn's first sojourn into storytelling began when she was nine.  She would rather invite neighborhood kids into her garage and regale them with ghost stories, believing even then that atmosphere played an important role in a good story.

Dawn has a diploma in journalism, but found herself pursuing a career in computer leasing.  After the birth of her son, she gave up the corporate world to be a mom and write full time, trading in her dreary cubicle for a dreary room in the attic.  Now Dawn spends her days creating dark, romantic mysteries with edgy heroes, clever heroines and villains she hopes will keep her readers sleeping with the light on.

I asked Dawn to tell us about a trip that changed her.  Any trip, across the globe or just a short jaunt to her local grocery story.  Here's Dawn's spin on -

Life hasn't been quite the same since...

When I was twenty-four, I went to Scotland with  my mother and grandmother.  Most people thought I was nuts making a trip like that with my grandmother.  I thought it was a great idea.  I was not well travelled, after all.  The only other time I'd been out of the country was a school trip to Washington DC when I was in eighth grade.  My grandmother made this trip Scotland, where she'd grown up, to visit her sisters every other year.  She would be able to show me everything I wanted to see.  Besides, I loved my grandmother.  She told funny stories and baked me a chocolate cake every year for my birthday.  

I was right.  My grandmother was great at making sure I got to see all the touristy sites.  Our first day in Edinburg, we climbed Arthur's Seat.  It's a small grass covered mountain in the middle of the city.  At the top, we took a rest looking out over the Firth of Forth, and she told me about playing on Arthur's Seat when she was a little girl, and how one of her friends turned up with her baby sister in a stroller.  All the kids playing there thought it would be a great idea to let the stroller go rolling down from the top--without baby sister in it, of course.  By the time the stroller hit the bottom it was just a crumpled ball.

We went to Edinburg Castle where my grandmother and her friends--who I was beginning to picture like the Little Rascals--would play hide and seek until security tossed them out.  Then Holyrood Palace where she and her friends stood on the fence trying to catch a glimpse of the future queen playing in the garden.

We passed the shop where my grandmother worked when she met my grandfather.  She was fifteen and he was fourteen.  We ate ice-cream at the parlor across from the church where grandparents were married just before the war ended.  

And then it hit me.  All these places we were visiting weren't merely tourist attractions, but places and moments from my grandmother's history.  I saw her differently then.  As a person.  She wasn't just a sweet old lady who baked and told stories.  For the first time, I saw her as a woman who had lived and loved and lost just like I had.  Just like I would.

She passed away seven years ago and I still miss her.  I imagine I always will.  But I will forever be grateful for that trip together.  I'm not sure I would have ever gained that same insight without it.


The deeper they dig into the past, the closer they come to a killer.  

Crime writer Shayne Reynolds is looking for the next book that'll get her out of her parents' basement and on track to rebuilding her life.  She's found it in Robert Anderson, a confessed murderer who's out on parole.  Something's never added up about that case. 

From the moment she sets foot in Dark Water, nothing goes as planned.  Anderson's family wants her to drop the story--especially surviving son Des.  A man who ignites sizzling heat even as he stands firmly in her way.

Laboring under his father's crushing legacy and his grandmother's iron resolve to get rid of the nosy writer at any cost, Des struggles to save the self-destructive sister who once saved him.  There's something honest and forthright about Shayne, though, that tempts him to help her get to the truth.  Even if it means double-crossing his powerful grandmother.

Despite their resolve to keep it strictly business, sexual sparks quickly set fire to tangled emotions.  And threads of a fragile bond that someone with a vendetta could use to weave their death shroud...

Product Warning:  This story contains a feisty writer, a sexy younger man and a 
mystery with enough twists and turns to cause vertigo.

Excerpt from Blood and Bone:
 The sucking slop of footsteps in wet mud rose from the surrounding black.  The hair on the back of her neck bristled, and a chill tickled along her spine.

Was it Hudson coming back to finish her off?  Tic?

What was she doing standing around here anyway?  A woman, alone, late at night, on a deserted country road, during a thunderstorm?  The scene had slasher flick written all over it.

She started for the driver's side door, but a low moan rose up from the darkness.  The wind?  Had to be.  Still, she picked up her pace.

The moan came again, louder this time.  Shayne stopped and turned.  A dark, hunched figure staggered toward her.

"Christ."  She gripped the door handle and yanked open the door.

The stooped outline lurched in front of her single headlight, and the glare illuminated the ugliest Hawaiian shirt she'd ever seen.  Relief swamped her like a tidal wave, turning her muscles soft for the second time in one night.  The feeling, however, was short-lived.  He might not have been the homicidal maniac she'd imagined, but the jerk had scared the life out of her.  And all because he was staggering drunk.  Even from this distance, the smell of beer was nearly overpowering.

As he pitched forward, the light cast a ghostly pallor over his face.  Dark smudges beneath his left eye, along his lip and circling the edges of each nostril stood out from the stark whiteness of his skin.


He wasn't just drunk, he was hurt.

Are you as intrigued by Blood and Bone as I am?  Get to know the author, ask questions, or just leave your thoughts on the book or the author.  Each commenter will be entered for a chance to win a prize of a $20 Amazon gift card  that Dawn will provide on a random draw at the end of her tour.

And, if you still have questions about Dawn - head over to her website at
or follow her tour; next stop, Reading Romances on November 1.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween - Stop By - Meet an Author - Enter to Win!

October 31 I'll be hosting author Dawn Brown and her new book, a romantic suspense "Blood and Bone"!  What an awesome title to feature on Halloween.  It's not just the title that got me but the fact that the book comes with its own "product warning". Stop by tomorrow to find out more, meet Dawn and enter for a chance to win a prize.  Over the course of her book tour one commenter will win a $20 Amazon gift certificate.  If you stop by and comment - that winner might just be you!

It's all happening here, tomorrow - at Once Upon a Time...  Hope to see you then!

So the big question - are you dressing up for Halloween or just answering the door dressed as self?
Me - I'm still contemplating that question.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spooktakular Giveaway Blog Hop

I love the fact that Halloween has become an event!  It used to be a one day affair. That was it. But over the years more and more people are getting into it and that's pretty fantastic. I know I've blogged about Halloween before - yep, probably every year. So I won't go on about it this year.

Instead, drum roll... Here's the first of this week's events - a blog hop give away. 

Spooktakular Giveaway Blog Hop
Yes, below is a mega list of blogs, including mine, who are hosting a give away. From now through October 31 you can hop from blog to blog and enter at any and all of them for a chance to win any number of great prizes.

Start here by entering for a chance to win a collection of books that includes:

Ring of Desire (my latest book, complete with bookmark.  It's a paranormal romance great for the season)
And two hard cover books:
Gerald's Game (Classic Stephen King - what better for Halloween?) 
Beatrice and Virgil (A Canadian literary novel that made a splash just last year).

How to enter (choose option one and/or two for a possible total of three entries):
1.  Leave a comment at any of my posts on this blog.  Make sure you include your e-mail address.  You're then entered for one chance to win.
2.  For two additional entries - Sign up for my newsletter by sending me an e-mail at  Make sure to enter newsletter in the subject line.  If you're already a newsletter subscriber, no problem - just let me know to collect your extra chances to win.  

Now head on over to the next blog on the list below and 
the next great give away!  
Good luck - and happy hopping!

My favourite Halloween costume?  I know, you didn't ask and I'm going to tell you anyway.  Aside from costumes I've worn over the years, I'd have to say my fave costume was the four foot zombie that arrived at my door - no mask, full makeup, very realistic.   

What was your favourite costume?


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tender Is The Night - A Nanowrimo Project

With "Tender is the Night" F. Scott Fitzgerald gave us both a fantastic title and the classic story that followed.  That being said, I am also a little annoyed with what I recently read, that he may have wrote it in six weeks.  That's not rough draft.  Apparently it was six weeks to good draft and submission to his publisher.  I'm hoping what I read was wrong. 

Six weeks.  

There is no justice in the world.  Not only did he write beautifully, he wrote ridiculously fast and he wasn't the only one.  Apparently Hemingway finished "For Whom The Bell Tolls" in six weeks too.

How is this possible I ask self?

How is this even fair?

I really hope those researchers had their facts wrong.  And if they do - I suppose it might make me feel better.  Might.  Of course, whether those books were written in six weeks or twelve or even twenty-four it would still be an amazing feat. 

So where does that leave me?

Yes, I can write that fast.  I proved it when I finished Nanowrimo with a complete novel and did it more than once.  That was a novel in four weeks.  Wait - that description of novel is fairly loose.  It was a rough first draft and in none of it's incarnations would it ever rate a classic.  I dream, of that some day - just not the books written on that day.  Those books were gaping canopies of stories that required more revision than the initial thought it required to write them.  Good - as a learning tool, definitely.  As a way to write all novels?  Possibly not.

But it was fun and I don't discount any of the effort put into a Nanowrimo novel.  And, yes, I encourage all you stalled or struggling writers out there - go do Nanowrimo.  It will get the fire lit under your butt and you may just have a novel at the end of it. 

But that's not me - not Nanowrimo - not this year.  The way things have been going I'd really like to take November off.  It's been a busy summer and fall.

With the shortening days, I'm usually up more than an hour before there's a hint of light outside.  That's when I carve out quality writing time - in the early morning, before the world awakens and discovers they can access me by phone or internet or good-old fashioned shouts. 

It's six o'clock in the morning.  I've already been working for half an hour. The house is in darkness - daylight hasn't even given a small burp or even a gurgle.  The furnace has kicked in a number of times already as the Prairies have settled into that pre-winter chill.

I began ridiculously early today - early even for me.  Why?  For one I'm making up time.  A family commitment has me on the road today and whether I pick commitment A or B - on the road again tomorrow.  That's two lost days.  I'm close to the finish line and determined to get this novel done.  Maybe I should quit pushing because soon I can just sit back and savour victory.  I made it to the first finish line.  And crazily already I'm stretching, thinking of the next novel. 

I really need to put less caffeine in that coffee. 

Any craziness in your life?


Friday, October 14, 2011

Pay It Forward Blogfest

Today is give a shout out for the blogs you follow.  There's many that I follow but the mandate is to list only three.  I love every blog I follow.  So for today here is three - randomly chosen, random, just to be fair but everyone one of them good.

Marcia Colette
Marcia's blog will take you into the heart of taking the reins of writing into your own hands.  Watch as this intrepid writer takes you into her world, embraces the creepier side of writing, and tells it, pretty much exactly like as it is.

Home for Dinner
Like to cook or just eat?  Amy Jo Ehman's blog takes you into the world of cooking with just food available locally on the prairies.  But even if that's not your thing - every post has a story that's just a joy to read.

Lisa Magnus Lange: The Sassy Scribbler
Lisa's blog takes you into her everyday world with a twist that makes it all feel like a grand adventure.

That's my shout out for the day.  So carry on and check these blogs out and then go on and discover other great blogs:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Take a Sledgehammer to the Problem?

Yesterday I was over at my mother's helping her get a compost heap torn down.  Her first suggestion was that I use a sledge hammer.  My thought - I don't know how helpful a tool that I can barely lift is going to be.  Instead I used a hammer and crowbar - much more manageable.

Sometimes the most difficult problem is addressed with a simple tool.  I wish the horror movie I just watched had followed this strategy.  Instead they went for the most outlandish solution to the problem.  Why is it that we allow film to take this shortcut?  Why do we keep buying in and buying that ticket.  While horror is often about happenings that just wouldn't occur in the real world, they're supposed to be believable.  There's a whole audience courting period that gets us to that place where we'll accept where the story is going - at least there should be.  But that doesn't seem to be happening, at least too often for my liking - we're expect to believe the most unbelievable without anything to help us choke it down.


I mean, we the viewers must allow it because they do it over and over again.  The most unbelievable option is the one they choose every time.  I mean this time I was even saying - no don't do it.  You wouldn't.  No character can be that stupid.  Yep, they were and they did. This movie even went a step further than that - let's take the obvious and make that the solution.  Maybe that was the simplicity of their solution it was both outlandish and obvious.  How hard is it to combine those two options.  But I've completely veered.  The topic was the outlandish and not, well the other.

There were so many other ways to go that would have made this movie so much better - believable and as a result, much more frightening.  Why didn't they go there?  My thought is time.  It's easier and faster to be outlandish because once you're over the top you've surpassed boundaries.  With the rule book thrown out you just forge ahead with no thought to logic.  Okay, maybe not that easy but you know what I mean.

Simpler is better - I don't care what Hollywood thinks.  Just look at the compost heap.  It's down - and I didn't take the fence with it.  As I might have had I used the sledge hammer.

Simple isn't an option just for movies maybe I'll just bear that in mind as I bring another story to the end.

Meantime - Don't forget to check in on October 24 for the blog hop.  There are going to be hundreds of prizes up for grabs on as many blogs.  Begin here at Once Upon a Time... and join the fun!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Spider of Doom

Dear Mimi A:

I'm so sorry for your recent plight.  A health crisis I believe you mentioned.  Fairly serious you said as well.  A health crisis that has forced you to ask me for money to help you out.  Your name seems familiar to me - not in a friend or family kind of way but in that you may have hit my inbox once before. 

I kind of have a soft spot for Mimi.  Maybe it's the name or maybe it's just because I actually liked Mimi's attempt at fereting money better than more recent attempts which were notifications of computer accessories that used a different name with each notification.

Yes, Mimi A has been what I called the spider of doom or the message in my inbox that immediately gets trashed and deleted.  She's there only because I had spam turned off for a time - a necessity sometimes depending on what author related activity I'm involved in.  But that's beside the point - the point, well, Mimi A.

E-mail spam, phone spam - seems the world is swimming in it.

Mimi, well I had some sympathy with her plight, dealing with a horrid disease in a country brutalized by war - I mean I had sympathy if I had believed her plight to be real.  Of course, there was no reality to the situation and even if there were - sorry.

Unfortunately I suspect this type of solicitation has worked in the past or it wouldn't continue.  I don't know who and I can't fathom how but it disturbs me that that is more than likely the case.  For me, the only thing it's managed to do is make me cynical to any and all.  A legitimate request from anyone, including my mother, via e-mail - well it would have to be verified by a face to face confirmation.   Okay, maybe it's not that bad.  After all there are people I know and trust that I have never met in person.  That's the nature of the writing business.  But...  That circle of people is small and it's tight.  And I don't send them money either. 

And I know, people you are saying again, as in the last time I griped about the unwanted solicitors, that I should get a spam filter.  I have one, like I said it was eased for a time but it will be back on duty soon.  In the meantime, I have to admit that I admire the creativity, misguided and amateurish as it is.  Maybe there's a story here - just one more e-mail and I'll pull the plug.

So Mimi, if you're listening - make the last e-mail good.  I want a story!  And no - sorry, I don't even have some empty bottles to send you to collect the refund.  I'm saving those for the boy scouts.

Halloween is in the air - any spiders of doom in your world?  Or am I the only one with a gripe today?


Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving up here in the great white north.  A time for celebration that has beginnings that are tied to historical exploration and harvest.  Today - it's more about family, friends, and of course, giving thanks.

So today as I consider how the year has gone, I realized that in the scope of life nothing ever runs completely smooth.  But right now the house is warm, the power is back on after the other day's  repeated outage and I've got a cup of coffee beside me and the dog snoring at my feet.  The day is slowly beginning and soon the rest of the house will awake.  This is my writing time.  The quiet time every day that is all mine.  I love it and as I consider I realize there's a lot of things in my life that I love.  I've been lucky so far.

Other than the usual griping about the change of weather heading us straight to winter - did I mention this was the great white north?  Seriously, it's been a beautiful fall so far and other than a day or two when my resolution to wear sandals through to the end of the month, caused frost nipped toes - I've made good on the promise quite easily.  So to be thankful for the year here in my part of the prairies is pretty easy.  We've had no natural disasters, no wars, no insurrections of any type and it's completely safe to walk around my neighborhood after dark.   There's been calamities - how can there not be with a rich network of family and friends.  But they've all ironed out to manageable levels.  And health wise - everyone, for now, is on a steady keel.  In the end you can't ask for much more than that.

Every once in a while you just have to give thanks.  And today is it - please pass the turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving!


BTW - I think in the scope of things it might just be the turkey who has no thanks to give.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What Do You Mean No? I'm The Author!

So I loaded a draft of one of my stories onto the Kindle.  Way back when I'd been given the great advise of reading your finished book out loud to find those last glitches.  And the Kindle has a "read to me" feature.  By default, a man's voice - I call him little man.
Why is everything way easier until you begin implementation?

First off the book wouldn't open once I loaded it onto the Kindle.  Apparently, I forgot to delete headers, that it called imbedded objects.  Of course it never stated what said objects might be.  So first hurdle - identify imbedded objects aka headers.  Finally a readable version of the book is loaded.

I pressed start for little man to begin reading to me.


I hit start.... start...  start...

I read the instructions again.  I hit start again.

Frustrated?  Determined?  About to trash the Kindle?

Nah - not me.

Then I discovered the problem.  Apparently the rights holder has not allowed this action.  Excuse me?  I am the rights holder!  I am the author.  That book is mine, darn it.  And I authorize you to speak - speak now!


We're at a stand off.  It might be my story but I suspect without a legal copyright and whatever other rights authorization it needs by virtue of publication, little man is just going to remain mute. I suspect too that little man might once have been part of a government entity, being as everything must be so cut and dried.  I mean really, shouldn't there be an option where I just check the box that says author?  Okay, so maybe not but this does seem rather close-minded on his part. 

I suspect that little man doesn't really care that I am the author.  I suspect that I might be the only one who cares.  I also suspect that I'm stepping a little close to the edge with my new relationship with the Kindle's little man.  But I am the author and logical or not it's darned annoying that I can't authorize this thing to work.  Ironic even as at this stage of the game I am the sole proprietor of said story.  It's that brief little lull before I send it out and throw everything wide open to the opinion of any and all.   For now it's a bunker - me and the story.

He did try to make it all better by reading a book by another author - published material of course - copyrighted and all, but somehow after his first rejection - his little electronic voice became oddly annoying.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One of Those Days

It's one of those days when I got up early intending to get a serious word count in and my attention span was nil.  So instead of getting a good word count, or edits, or anything out of the way early, nothing.  Despite a ridiculous pre-dawn start, it means working later today. 
For now I quit.  Yep, you heard right - done, finished for the next few hours.  I'm heading out into the sunshine of mid-week.   The good weather is still hanging in and my toes in sandals are not freezing... yet.

I've had other things on my mind today.  I admit there's always other things on my mind but when I get in that writing zone I shut the door on all the chatter.  To the point that I know it's not safe to talk to me immediately after a writing jag because it takes a while to get my focus back on what's real in the world and what's fiction.

So I signed up for my first blog hop.  I'm pretty excited about that and I'll have more details, like what my give away is, later - as it's nearer the end of the month.  What I can tell you now is there are a few hundred blogs participating.  So I hope you'll check it out and hop to a blog or two or even a hundred or so.  Lots of reading related prizes to be had.

This seems to be the post that began in the morning and ran through the afternoon.  So here I am back, and yes, it's afternoon.  A shopping trip and a trip to the library later - the library got me ready to write again and the shopping, well it just had to be done.  Don't go asking me the price of the latest trendy shirt, I'm still in recovery! 

In the meantime, it's back to writing - what I started out so very early to do.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Life Raft or a Laptop

I just surfaced to discover it's October.  I know raking leaves a few weeks back should have triggered that the seasons were changing.  But no I was firmly mired in my over-committed summer. 

The mention of Halloween makes me want to bestow that cliched look of horror and not one usually associated with that holiday.  It just feels like summer can't be over - that this is it.  That's all she wrote - put the Margarita Blender (and yes both words should be capitalized!) into the cupboard for another year.  I don't care that the sun hut has been unbolted from the deck or that the lawn ornaments are now tucked in the shed.  The weather is still great - this can't be it.

Besides I still have writing to do - writing that I thought would be done, well way sooner than now but than the summer was much shorter than I thought too.  Two projects in various stages of completion and both of them heading for a finish line.  I'm exhausted thinking about it but amazed that another month from now (optimistically speaking) they'll both be complete sans possibly a critique or two. 

Maybe that's why autumn snuck up on me.  I had the blinds down and the only light was the glare of that darn laptop. 

Seriously, I did enjoy summer - I even lugged that laptop out to the new sun hut.  In Saskatchewan, it would be renamed a bug hut.  Not a hut that a bug loves but one the pesky things can't get in.  I'm still mourning the take-down of that hut - did I mention that?  That was the announcement that summer was over.  The most I can ask for now is an extension on the beautiful fall weather. 

And just to make sure that's what happens - I refuse to put on socks until Halloween!  Chilly toes or not, it's sandals until the end of the month.  And maybe there's hope for me to embrace fall yet, even as I write this post I'm starting to look away from summer and toward Halloween.  Hey, I've seen a few Halloween contests floating around the web.  Who knows what may come of that...

How's October looking in your part of the world?